The host shares intel on the new season's twists, turns, and themes.
Big Brother

Summer is here! But also… summer is over! Or at least enjoying things like the "beach" and "nature" and "fresh air" is for reality TV junkies that will flock back inside to their TVs and live feeds starting with the July 6 premiere of Big Brother season 24. And while we wait not-so-patiently for that 8 p.m. start time on CBS, we have our first nuggets of intel on what to expect courtesy of host Julie Chen Moonves.

"The live premiere is going to be 90 minutes with 16 brand new faces" says Moonves, which, technically we already knew. C'mon, you can do better than that, Chenbot! "The challenges that you're going to see on premiere night are brand new challenges that are crazy." Alright, "new" and "crazy" challenges. Now we are getting somewhere.

In addition to those challenges, it seems that a new twist will be unleashed on night 1 that will turn the house upside down (not literally, although that would be awesome) and send the Houseguests scrambling. Not only that, but America will have a voice and a vote as part of that twist. (Oooooh, intrigue!) On the downside, the host also reveals that while they were hoping to return to a live studio audience, that plan has been put on pause due to COVID precautions — at least for the start of the season. (Too bad, but always better to err on the side of safety.)

'Big Brother' host Julie Chen Moonves
| Credit: CBS

However, Moonves doesn't want to talk anymore about the premiere. She wants to talk about what will happen after the premiere. "I think the really big, big, big news is that our first eviction show is going to be like no other eviction show," teases the host. "Because the person who gets evicted may not be who you think." Excuse me? Explain. "It could almost be anyone," Moonves says. "We have new levels of gameplay and twists that the game is certainly not what you think it is this season more than any other. It's our 24th season. We have to really switch it up."

Sooooo, what exactly does that mean? That eviction night will start with traditional nominees, and while the Houseguests are deciding whom to evict, JCM is going to drop a bombshell on them? "Yes, exactly!" replies Moonves. "Expect the unexpected! We have to hand it to [the players]. These people come in. They're experts. They've watched since they were like eight years old. They know the game. We have to do something to keep them on their toes."

As for a season theme, Chen spills that season 24's theme will be… BB Fest. "I mean, who doesn't love a festival?" asks the host. "So throughout the summer, you're going to see various festivals: Music Fest, Renaissance Fest, Comedy. But my favorite…" And this is where she pauses for dramatic effect. "We're going to have a Zing Fest."

Stop it. Stop the article. Stop everything. Did she just say Zing Fest? Is Julie just messing with me because she knows how disturbingly obsessed I am with the Zingbot (a sassy, wisecracking robot that enters the house each summer for the sole purpose of insulting the contestants)? And wait, what exactly happens during a Zing Fest? Does that just mean… more zings?

The 'Big Brother' ZIngbot
| Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

"I would imagine more zings," says Moonves. "I hope they can take it. The zings are so harsh. You should hear some that don't make the show. Get on your thick skin, people! Get ready!" The host also notes that "We never zing the celebrities. There are usually people fawning all over them. We can't do that to them." Indeed.

As for the house décor, the Chenbot had yet to enter it yet when we spoke but had been briefed on its look for 2022. "It's supposed to feel very Palm Springs, mid-century, BB Motel. Every time I see BB Motel, I think it's like the Roach Motel. You can check in, but you can't check out. Unless you get evicted."

Speaking of being evicted, as enjoyable as the Cookout was to watch last season, it marked yet another installment in which one majority alliance mowed down and evicted the competition with little-to-no resistance. We asked Moonves why it has been so long since we have seen two big power alliances trade blows inside the house.

"I think it's because a lot of times the strong players, they are all within one group," says the host. "So to have two strong teams go head to head throughout the whole summer, that's hard, because you want to be with the strong players. You want to team up with the people that you think can really take you to the end. And then you have the stragglers just kind of at a loss, trying to find their way, holding on from week to week."

And we're simply holding on waiting for tomorrow night's premiere to kick off another BB campaign. Speaking of which, does Julie have her premiere outfit picked out yet? "Yes, I have! It got picked up from my house yesterday. It's probably resting in the studio now."

Any teases as to the outfit?  "Think Prince," says the host. If we're picking up what she's putting down, it seems like we should all get ready for Moonves' purple reign of hosting terror.

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Big Brother
Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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